PHILADELPHIA — Days after yet another disappointing second-round playoff elimination, the Philadelphia 76ers have fired coach Doc Rivers, ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported Tuesday morning.
Philly was blown out by the Boston Celtics 112-88 Sunday in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, marking yet another playoff flameout under Rivers, who led the Sixers to a 154-82 record in his three seasons at the helm but was unable to push them over the top to the conference finals.
Philly lost to the Atlanta Hawks in the conference semis in 2021 and were eliminated by the Miami Heat at that same point of the playoffs last year.
Wojnarwoski reports that the Sixers' search to replace Rivers is expected to include Mike Budenholzer, Sam Cassell, Mike D'Antoni, Nick Nurse, Frank Vogel and Monty Williams.
Philadelphia's 54 wins in the regular season this year was the most since the 2000-01 season, and when the team showed its mettle in a hard-fought sweep of the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs, fans and analysts began wondering if this year's playoff run would be different for the championship-starved Sixers.
After stealing Game 1 in Boston without league MVP Joel Embiid in the lineup, Philadelphia dropped Games 2 and 3. They rallied to regain the series lead by stealing another victory in Boston, giving them a golden opportunity to close out Boston at home in Game 6.
But after taking a four-point lead late in the fourth quarter, the Sixers simply faded down the stretch, allowing the Celtics' Jason Tatum -- who had struggled mightily for the entire game up to that point -- to reel off 16 points in the fourth quarter to spark a comeback victory, sending the series back to Boston for a decisive Game 7.
Once they were back home, the Celtics took advantage of abysmal efforts by Embiid and co-star James Harden -- who combined for 24 points on 8 for 29 shooting and had nine combined turnovers -- to run the Sixers out of the building with a 33-10 explosion in the third quarter.
Rivers, who delivered his 16th straight winning season as a head coach, lost for the 10th time in a Game 7, including five consecutive times. The loss to the Celtics also marked the ninth straight time that Rivers had lost with a chance to reach the conference finals.
Now the Sixers face an offseason of uncertainty. Harden is rumored to be considering a return to Houston, while many fans wonder whether Embiid will ever be able to lead the team to a title.
But the next step is finding the next candidate to guide the franchise.